Three Thousand Miles Between Breakfast and Lunch
I had breakfast with the dark rain, not knowing whether there would be a rainbow. The taxi slushed through that rain, just as thoughts sluiced through my mind, mixing senses as if that time was elastic.
We worked our way to the airport, only I sat and thought and daydreamed while others took charge: driving, checking, preparing the aeroplane. The rain and the dark remained, but the sound of the rain became submerged in cheap music from the radio, annoying its way into nature.
I touched the outside of the aircraft for luck. I always do, but never want it known that I do. I was inured to the rain now, cosseted in metal and plastic, doing as I was told as the dark lifted to a new day.
Soon we were above the weather, looking down. Rain looks different from above; more paint dabs in grey and blue and white than something wet and damp and cold. I watched the sunlight turn the grey mist to a shimmering satin cloak to clothe the world below.
Three thousand miles later and the skyscrapers of Manhattan tried to prick the belly of our plane as it looked for somewhere to land. It chose a place where lots of handguns and walky-talkies stood with their matching uniforms. They told us where to go, what to do, but not unkindly, just the routine of a new day.
Like the day before and the day before the day before. I won’t go on listing the days before the days before.
The new taxi was yellow like the yoke of an egg. But the driver did not speak, did not try and pierce into my world.
Perhaps I was an alien to him. Perhaps he wanted me to make all the small talk. Perhaps he could not care who or what I was or was not. Perhaps I was just a neat roll of dollar bills, peeling into his palm as the ride terminated. Even the restaurant address was given to the cab controller, my interpreter for the ride.
It was a private lunch in a private room, one hundred floors up in a skyscraper that my plane had tried to skim the top off as it came in to land. I went directly to the big picture window, tried to see the street below, but the angle was too sharp, too acute, even when I pressed my face against the pane. Instead I saw shadows and darker patches where lines merged into nothing but the world below, a world I was not visiting today.
I took my face from the window and pressed it no more. It was not the done thing and I did not want people to stare and wonder. So instead I talked about myself and asked questions about others. But I wanted to grow my hair long and then spill it down the mountainside to the street below.
But there was no time to grow my hair, for all too soon the journey worked in reverse. There were ‘thank yous’ to be said on both sides, then the yellow-egg taxi with a different driver, but again he had taken a vow of silence.
I won’t detail the return journey: you can read this story backwards if you are interested in schedules and timetables. I am not.
But I had insisted on an early flight out of New York so that I could listen to the rain at breakfast the next day.
And find out whether there would be a rainbow.